Smithfield Public Schools Acceptable Use Policy for Students

All students of the Smithfield Public School District (SPS) computer systems are subject to this Acceptable Use Policy. This student policy will undergo periodic review to ensure SPS hardware, software, and data systems are used in a responsible, efficient, ethical, and legal manner and such use is in support of SPS's business and education objectives.

Students should ensure SPS hardware, software, and data systems are used in a responsible, efficient, ethical, and manner, and such use must be in support of SPS's business and education objectives.

Philosophy of Use

Access to computers, computing equipment, software, e-mail and the Internet enables students to explore thousands of libraries, databases, and web sites while communicating with Internet users throughout the world. SPS provides students with computing and Internet access to further educational goals and objectives. However, students may find ways to access materials that are illegal, defamatory, inaccurate, or potentially offensive to some people. SPS believes the benefits of access to the Internet in the form of information resources and opportunities for collaboration are beneficial to the education process and provides filtering and management of Internet and interactive software resources to provide a safe and productive environment for learning. SPS also works to promote a positive culture of technology use and development among students and this policy is developed to assist students and their families in understanding their roles in safe and effective computer use in the District.

Student Rights and Responsibilities for Using the Smithfield School District Computer Network & Hardware

SPS provides a computer network for students who agree to act in a considerate and responsible manner. The network is available to conduct research, save student work/files, and communicate with others in the community and also sometimes with members of the general public. Additionally, SPS provides equipment in the form of a laptop or Chromebook for students to use.

The purpose of the Student Acceptable Use Policy is:

● to establish good user habits and actions while using electronic resources in the District;

● to prevent unauthorized access and other unlawful activities by users online;

● prevent unauthorized disclosure of or access to sensitive information;

● comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act ("CIPA") and other relevant state and local regulations regarding use of technology by students in their relative age and grade categories

As used in this policy, the term "user" includes all students and summer/temporary or visiting student participants using the computers, software, Internet, email, social media, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications or equipment provided by SPS (the "network"). The “District” refers to Smithfield Public Schools and any of its entities or representatives. Only current students are authorized to use the network under the terms of this policy; SPS and the District reserve the right to extend certain privileges to other individuals, who may participate in programs and activities as student participants, subject to additional use policies.

Access is a privilege, not a right, and therefore entails responsibility. Students are responsible for good behavior on the school's computer network. If a user is uncertain about whether a particular use is acceptable or appropriate, he or she should consult a school administrator or other appropriate SPS personnel. All users will comply with all SPS regulations and will honor signed agreements.

Students/parents shall be required to sign SPS Acceptable Use Policy annually before Internet or electronic communicating accounts shall be accessed and be allowed. This signature can be obtained electronically if necessary or expedient via forms or documents distributed in person or electronically by the District. Failure to sign an annual AUP agreement in the annual student information update process may result in suspension or limiting of computer device and network access privileges.

Home and Personal Internet Use

Students may use SPS resources (computers, peripherals, software) at school, home or other remote locations. In doing so, they are still subject to the rules set forth in this document and related school behavior policies. As with many workplace policies, students should assume they are always “a student” and representing themselves and their school when using SPS equipment or involved in SPS online or software related activities, such as use of Internet provided software, Google Classroom, and or other online media such as audio and videoconferencing. Use of their student identity in any online, Internet or software related activity constitutes an awareness of their responsibility to act in a manner befitting a student of Smithfield Public Schools, and is subject to all the rules and policies regarding student behavior, outlined here or in other student behavior policies.

Students' home and personal Internet use can have an impact on the school and on other students. If a student's personal Internet use or electronic activity - such as a threatening message to another student or staff member, or use or display of a restricted website - creates a likelihood of material disruption of the school's operations, the student may face school discipline and criminal penalties.

Outside of school hours, student internet browsing remains subject to the use of the District’s Internet filter; however active monitoring of technology use becomes the responsibility of parents/guardians. Violations of policy that occur at home, outside of school hours yet utilizing district owned devices/network accounts may remain subject to penalty.

Supervision of Student Technology Use

During any scheduled instructional day on the school approved calendar, teachers and administrators must make reasonable efforts to supervise student use of SPS's computer system and electronic devices in a manner that is appropriate to the student’s age and circumstances of use. This can take the form of remote help desk sessions utilizing the latest technology, phone calls or email, and face-to-face communications designed to assist students in their use and understanding of technology in relation to the lesson or activity. Students may be required to check in visually with teachers when using a remote technology device or service. Teachers or staff will not access any student device remotely without permission; access would be for the purpose of academic or school-related activities and or help desk activity to maintain device use and stability.

In addition, algorithms, tools and other software/hardware services may be utilized by District administration to screen for potential safety concerns in coordination with clinical support staff.

Virtual learning situations require a balance and partnership between the school and families. While teachers make a reasonable effort to fully engage students in their lessons, it is not appropriate and cannot be expected that responsibility for monitoring technology use occur while students are attending school from home or doing homework using technology. Parents and guardians have the responsibility to assist in the positive use of technology and play a vital role in supervision of students when using SPS devices outside of the classroom and school hours.

Student Passwords

Students shall not share their passwords with anyone else, nor shall students use anyone else’s password, regardless of how the password is obtained. Students who suspect that someone has discovered their password should contact the administrator at their school immediately. Students shall not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, other data, or passwords belonging to other users. Passwords are issued by the technology department and may be managed by school officials for staff and students. Students may be required to change their password at an interval and manner prescribed by the District and to follow all password rules put forth by the Technology department for the various systems in use and levels of access.

Protection of Identifying Information

Students while online should not reveal personal information about themselves or other persons. Identifying information includes, but is not limited to, last names, addresses, telephone numbers, family information, or any other personal information that could be used inappropriately. Student login to services provided by the District are subject to state and federal law and the District follows protocols to review resources for privacy and security compliance for all managed software and Internet resources.


SPS Computer Network is routinely monitored to maintain the efficiency of the system. Users should be aware that use of the network is subject to reasonable and appropriate monitoring by the Districts’ Technology Department that abides by the requirements of all applicable federal and state laws. Any activities related to or in support of violations of this policy and/or other SPS policies and rules may be reported and will subject the user to appropriate sanctions.

Users acknowledge that since SPS computer network is routinely monitored, that any email, chat, file or other communications or transmission may be viewed at any time by the Administration if necessary. By utilizing SPS network, the user specifically acknowledges that he or she has no privacy expectation in any communications sent utilizing the network or its services. District staff may engage in review of materials and online activity subject to an investigation of activity that is in violation of this policy and or other student behavior policies. District staff will not routinely review accounts or activities in the course of their regular duties to operate and manage the District network, its software and hardware. District Technology department staff may routinely request permission-based access to a student device or account in the course of troubleshooting use for academic and school-related activities.

SPS Access to Student Files and Emails

Students should have no expectation of privacy or confidentiality in the content of electronic communications or other computer files that they send or receive on the District network or device. The Director of Technology or other designated SPS employee may, at any time, review the subject, content, and appropriateness of electronic communications or other computer files and may remove them, if warranted. Search and review of electronic resources is considered equivalent to physical search and seizure components of the Searches and Interrogations policy - JIH.

By using SPS information technology systems, the student is expressly consenting to such monitoring. Please refer to Local RI General State Law 38-2-2(4) and RI General Law 38-1-l(c).

Email as a Record

SPS's information technology systems store and record information transmitted via email and this record cannot be deleted by the user. SPS may conduct monitoring of messages upon reporting of an incident or behavior that warrants review of such communications. This monitoring and review is done by technology staff and administrators at the request of a school or district-based administrator. No external entity may review or monitor email communications unless the district is compelled to do so legally.

Your Smithfield email address is the only official address used for communications. Students may not use personal addresses for official school activities business and students must communicate with staff and administration using their school-issued email address. Content and attachments while using the email system are SPS property and should not be considered confidential or private.

Filtering, Restrictions and Anti Intrusion Technology Use

Students shall not use the school SPS's network system to access material that is obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, sexually suggestive, harmful, or otherwise inappropriate. Students shall not tamper with nor attempt to disable the filtering service.

The District uses filtering and/or blocking software and network-based hardware to restrict access to Internet sites containing material harmful to minors, such as sexually explicit or other inappropriate materials. The software & hardware work by scanning for objectionable words, sites or concepts, as determined by SPS. In addition, contracted Internet service providers manage software and hardware tools that provide blocking technology for harmful intrusion of the District network system and its devices. Filtering is subject to the Internet Filtering Policy - IJNDCA and Social Media & internet use is governed by the Use of Social Media, Internet Sites and Resources policy - IJNDCB.

However, no internet filter or firewall technology is foolproof. A student who incidentally connects to an inappropriate site must immediately disconnect from the site and notify a teacher or administrator. If a student sees another student accessing inappropriate sites, he or she should notify a teacher or administrator immediately. Accidental access to restricted areas and materials is not considered a violation of this policy and each incident may be logged and responded to by technology and other district staff.

Using Proxy Sites to By-Pass SPS Filters or Network Tools

Any use of a proxy site on SPS's system to bypass the established filtering service will result in disciplinary action. A proxy site is defined as any server or service behind our firewall set up without authorization, including ones for non-filter related activity. No technology, known or developed in the future, that allows for circumvent filtering, access restrictions or network or use policies, is allowed. Use of devices or computer networks to interfere with another’s ability to use a computing system or network is prohibited. Students shall not bypass or disable SPS maintained network security systems. Students shall not intentionally remove SPS hardware or peripherals from its assigned SPS property without approval of the Director of Technology.

Personal Expression

The following restrictions against inappropriate speech and messages apply to all speech communicated and accessed through SPS's network including, but not limited to, e-mail, social media, instant messages, web pages, and web logs (blogs, Wiki's, etc.).

● Students shall not send obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, or disrespectful messages.

● Students shall not post information that could cause damage, danger, or disruption, or engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks.

● Students shall not harass another person, or knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory information about a person or organization.

SPS does not tolerate bullying and harassment. (see Smithfield Public Schools Bullying Policy - JICK-C). Students shall not use any Internet or other communication device, such as cell or telephone to intimidate, bully, harass, or embarrass other students. Students who engage in such activity on school grounds or who engage in such activity off campus and create material disruption of school operations shall be subject to the penalties outlined in this document as well as possible criminal prosecution.

Access to Restricted Information

Student use of SPS computer equipment and network is limited to the educational purposes of the district. Improper uses include, but are not limited to, gaining illegal access to school SPS records, files, computer programs, student records, and other information maintained by SPS.

Use of Non-SPS Software and Applications

Students shall not install any non-SPS approved application software on SPS network or school workstations. Students may NOT download inappropriate files/programs onto SPS network resources, SPS accounts or onto SPS devices. Inappropriate files include, but are not limited to, games, music, video or audio files, or material restricted by SPS's filtering or blocking software.

Students or staff shall not install any non-SPS approved application software on SPS network or school workstations.

Students may NOT download inappropriate files/programs onto SPS network resources, SPS accounts or onto SPS devices. Inappropriate files include, but are not limited to, games, music, video or audio files, or material restricted by SPS's filtering or blocking software. Use of SPS resources for streaming, file sharing or other social sharing activities outside of normal educational purposes is prohibited.

Intellectual Property

Students will request permission, when appropriate, to use resources and suitably cite any and all use of websites, books, media etc. Students will not steal, appropriate or represent content, media or information that is not theirs. Students will only use properly purchased and licensed content, media and software. Students will properly purchase any music and other media, and refrain from distributing these using SPS resources. Students may not save or distribute media that is copyrighted via their drive and or any other SPS resources.

For more information about copyright, please see http://www.copyright.gov

Personal Mobile Technology

Students may bring tablets, e-readers, and other communication devices to school as long as they do not disrupt the educational process. Individual schools and teachers may impose additional restrictions consistent with this policy. SPS is not responsible for the loss, theft, damage, or vandalism to student or staff electronic devices. SPS is not required to provide access to network resources for personal devices and may require any personal device using the network to register with the District. Students should not communicate with SPS staff using text messaging unless it is an emergency.

Policy on Sexting

It is an explicit part of this policy that a student may not possess, view, send, or share pictures or text having sexual content while the student or staff member is on school grounds, at school sponsored events or on school buses or other vehicles provided by SPS. This policy strictly prohibits sexual material in electronic or any other form and includes but is not limited to the sexual material contained in a cellular telephone, camera phone, tablet computer or e-reader and sexual material transmitted by text message, e-mail, or any electronic communication device. A student or staff member who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action as well as possible criminal prosecution.

School personnel are required to report to law enforcement or child protective services whenever there is reason to believe that any student or other person is involved with child exploitation or child pornography. Students and parents need to be aware of the consequences - some of them life-altering - of having sexual material at school, including on your cell phone or other electronic communication device.

Using SPS's Network for Personal Reasons

Students are prohibited from using SPS's network to access the Internet for personal advertising, promotion, or financial gain: or conducting for-profit business activities and/or engaging in non-school related fundraising or public relations activities such as solicitation for religious purposes or lobbying for personal political purposes.

Penalties for Improper Use - Students

The use of a SPS account is a privilege, not a right, and misuse will result in the restriction or cancellation of the user's account. Misuse may also lead to disciplinary and/or legal action for students, including suspension, expulsion, or criminal prosecution by government authorities. SPS will attempt to tailor any disciplinary action to the specific issues related to each violation.

Violations may be defined as, but not are not limited to:

● an activity that significantly threatens or damages SPS wide network resources,

● interferes with the appropriate use of technology in an educational setting,

● threatens or affects staff, students or the public while using SPS resources,

● tampering with or affecting any, Web site, e- mail system, online grading system, or SPS system etc., or

● any electronic or related technology activity that endangers the student, students, staff or other members of the school or public community.

If a student's access to SPS Network is suspended by SPS Network administrators as a result of violations of this policy, the student member may appeal the suspension to the building Principal or the Superintendent. A violator must understand that if he or she is removed from SPS Network, there shall be no obligation to provide a subsequent opportunity to access SPS network. Students are expected to review this Acceptable Use Policy before using school computers or SPS network.

Violations may result in:

● Immediate removal from the computer network at any time without warning.

● Removal from the computer network for a specified period of time as determined by the Principal.

● Suspension from use of particular affected or related resources (ex. “email”)

● Removal from the computer network for the duration of a student's enrollment in SPS as determined by the Superintendent and or other administrator’s recommendation.

Students who engage in unauthorized computer or network use may be subject to imprisonment, fines, and civil liability under applicable state and federal laws. Unauthorized computer or network use may also result in disciplinary measures consistent with the school SPS's policies and regulations, including suspension and expulsion.


SPS makes no guarantees about the quality of the services provided and is not responsible for any claims, losses, damages, costs, or other obligations arising from use of SPS network or accounts. Any additional charges a user accrues due to the use of SPS's network are to be borne by the user. SPS also denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of the information obtained through user access. Any statement, accessible on the computer network or the Internet, is understood to be the author’s individual point of view and not that of SPS, its affiliates, or employees.

In consideration of the School Department's providing the use of information technology, the user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Smithfield School Department regarding any claims, costs, and/or damages incurred by the student or staff member resulting from the use of technology in violation of School Department policy. SPS disclaims any liability for damages incurred resulting from the use of the technology by an employee or student.


These are examples of inappropriate activity on school department computer network:

● Violating any state or federal law or municipal ordinance, such as: Accessing or transmitting pornography of any kind, obscene depictions, and harmful materials, materials that encourage others to violate the law, confidential information or copyrighted materials.

● Criminal activities that can be punished under law. Selling or purchasing illegal items or substances.

● Obtaining and/or using anonymous email sites; spamming; sexting; spreading viruses. Causing harm to others or damage to their property.

● Using profane, abusive, or impolite language; threatening, harassing, or making damaging or false statements about others or accessing, transmitting, or downloading offensive, harassing, or disparaging materials.

● Deleting, copying, modifying, or forging other users' names, emails, files, or data; disguising one's identity, impersonating other users, or sending anonymous email.

● Damaging computer equipment, files, data or the network in any way, including intentionally accessing, transmitting or downloading computer viruses or other harmful files or programs, or disrupting any computer system performance.

● Using any SPS computer to pursue "hacking," internal or external to SPS or other computer networks or attempting to access information protected by privacy laws;

Using another's account password(s) or identifier(s);

● Interfering with other users' ability to access their account(s); or

● Disclosing anyone's password to others or allowing them to use another's account(s). Using the network or Internet for commercial purposes or financial or personal gain.

The Smithfield Public School District (SPS) reserves the right to take immediate action against violators regarding such activities that:

  1. create security and/or safety issues for SPS, students, employees, schools, network or computer resources.

  2. expend SPS resources to remedy violations

  3. other activities as determined by SPS as inappropriate.

Policy is presented annually in the ONLINE PARENT PORTAL annual review of student information section, where parent is responsible for acknowledging receipt of and agreeing to the terms of the policy electronically.

ADOPTED: May 20, 2013

REVISED: August 16, 2021